About the CVCVAC

What is the CVCVAC?
The Congers-Valley Cottage Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CVCVAC) is a dedicated group of professionals, skilled in Emergency Medicine, who volunteer their time to the people of Congers, Valley Cottage and Rockland Lake, as well as to the surrounding towns when the need arises.

From their headquarters on King's Highway, the Corps can respond to 911 emergency calls within minutes, anywhere within our assigned service territory.

What level of training do your volunteers have?
An ambulance will always be dispatched with at least one NYS certified EMT-B (or higher) a driver, who may or may not be an EMT and, often, a third crew member who is trained, but not an EMT. Every member of a crew holds certain certifications such as CPR.

All EMT's, both 'professional' and volunteer are held to the same strict certification requirements.

What do you charge for bringing people to the hospital?
CVCVAC does bill, to help offset our operational costs, based on how far we transport you and the level of service we provide. Billing is handled by a third-party agency. YOU WILL NEVER BE DENIED SERVICE DUE TO AN INABILITY TO PAY.

Can I call an ambulance if I don't have insurance?
Yes. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Can ambulances break traffic laws?
An ambulance is an emergency vehicle and is granted certain exceptions to traffic laws in certain situations. If the situation warrants it, and the ambulance can maneuver safely, you may see an ambulance going above the posted speed limit or proceeding safely through a red light. CVCVAC trains all of our drivers extensively and operates our vehicles with "due regard." Crew and patient safety are our highest priorities.

If you see one of our ambulances operating unsafely, please contact a line officer via our Contact page.

What do I do if I see an ambulance operating with lights and sirens ("code 3") while I'm driving?
When it is safe, please move your vehicle to the right and come to a complete stop until the emergency vehicle passes you. If the ambulance is not operating with lights and sirens, it does not need to be yielded to.

Why do I see the ambulance transporting a patient without lights and sirens?
We only proceed with lights and sirens if the crew feels that the expedited transport will improve the outcome of the patient. By operating with lights and sirens, studies show that there is an increased likelihood of being involved in an accident, so we only operate in this manner when necessary.

Our crew and patient's safety are our highest priorities.

Why do I see civilian cars with flashing green lights? What does this mean?
In NYS, a green light indicates EMS personnel responding to a 911 call in their personal vehicles. Because our volunteers sometimes leave the building during their shift, if they get a call they will activate their green light and proceed safely to meet the ambulance.

If you see a passenger car with a flashing green light, please treat it like any other emergency vehicle. When it is safe, please pull over to the right and come to a complete stop.

Why do I sometimes see ambulances from neighboring towns responding to calls in your service area?
If our ambulances are out on a call, or unable to respond for whatever reason, then the closest ambulance will be dispatched to come into our service area to help provide our residents with prompt and professional emergency care. While Congers, Valley Cottage, and Rockland Lake are our primary service areas, we will respond into neighboring towns as well when requested by dispatch. This is through a mutual aid agreement.

Also, certain businesses and groups have contracts with private ambulance providers for emergency and non-emergency transports.

Will the ambulance take me to the hospital of my choice?
CVCVAC will transport you to the hospital of your choice in Rockland Co., if the circumstances allow. For certain emergencies, we may transport to one facility in favor of another based on a variety of factors including expected transport times, capabilities of the receiving facility, and patient load at the hospital.

For example, sometimes one hospital may get very busy and request that we transport patients to another facility until they can get their case load under control. If transporting a patient to another facility does not negatively effect patient care, we will honor the hospital's request.

Can I call an ambulance for a non-emergency transport?
CVCVAC will only respond to pre-arranged standbys as well as 911 dispatched medical emergencies. If you require an ambulance for a non-emergency transports, there are private organizations that provide this service.

Are you part of the fire department?
No. While some EMS services are part of a local fire department, CVCVAC is a distinct agency separate from the Congers and Valley Cottage Fire Departments. We welcome and encourage volunteers with the fire department to volunteer with CVCVAC.

Are you police?
No. CVCVAC is a distinct agency separate from the Clarkstown Police Department (CFD). We are dispatched through the CPD headquarters 911 service.

About Volunteering and Being a Member of the Corps

What do you mean by Volunteer?
The CVCVAC is made up almost entirely of people who give of their time, experience, skills, and enthusiasm without pay. While we have a very few paid employees, we are always looking for and need people who can volunteer.

Though you will not receive a paycheck, volunteering with CVCVAC provides many other rewards: not least of which is knowing you are making a real and important difference in the lives of the people of our community. In addition, you have the chance to learn new skills and meet new friends.

Do I need to be a certified EMT?
Not at all. You will need to learn a few skills, such as CPR, and will need to pass some tests before you can ride with the Corps. We encourage members to take an EMT class, but it is not required.

What skills do I need?
None to start. No medical training is needed to begin volunteering with CVCVAC. We can teach you CPR and the other skills you'll need at the start, and we'll team you up with a senior crew member to help you build confidence in your new skills. Should you want to become an EMT, CVCVAC will sponsor your training.

How much time do I have to give?
We know you're busy, we know you have a family, a job and a life. We're not asking you to take on another full-time job. You can give as much time or as little time as you are able to. We'll work with you to find a schedule that meets your individual needs. We ask our members to ride at least 6 hours a week, most weeks.

What would I do?
When a sick or injured person calls 911 we, along with the Police and Paramedics, respond to the call, provide on-the-spot first aid and life-support, then transport the sick or injured person to the hospital.

What if I just want to drive the ambulance?
We always need drivers. In addition to CPR and some initial certifications, if you have a valid NYS driver's license and can pass our driver training program, you are very, very welcome to the Corps.

Are there any health or medical requirements for volunteering?
To ride on an ambulance we ask that you are in good health and are able to lift roughly 125 lbs. If you have any specific questions, please contact us via our Contact page

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from active riding, we happily accept volunteers that do not want to or cannot ride on the ambulances.

If I'm on a scheduled crew, do I have to stay at the building?
While we encourage crew to stay at the building, for faster response times, we realize that it's not always possible. As a member you'll be issued a pager which will notify you of calls. We ask that you're able to safely get to the building within five minutes.

Other Common Questions

I'm already an EMT, certified in another state. Do I need to be re-certified to ride with you?
Depending on the state from which you hold your EMT certification there may be a reciprocal agreement. More information about this can be found here.

We would be happy to have you volunteer as a driver until you receive NYS EMT status.

I'm a Nationally Registered EMT, but do not hold a NYS EMT license, can I ride with you?
Not immediately as an EMT. You'll need to contact the NYS DOH EMS office to make arrangements to receive a NYS certification. More information can be found here.

We would be happy to have you volunteer as a driver until you receive NYS EMT status.

How do I become and EMT? Can you help?
To become an EMT, you must attend a State sanctioned EMT class that lasts for approximately 3 months and meets, on average, twice a week in the evenings. CVCVAC will sponsor committed CVCVAC members in good standing who wish to receive training as an EMT. The EMT class is equivalent to a 3-credit college course.

I'm an RN. Can I ride as a Nurse?
We would welcome you as a valuable addition to our crew as a driver. Unfortunately, your nursing skills and certification do not translate over to EMS certifications.

Can I bring my students on a field trip to your station house?
CVCVAC is happy to assist you and your organization. We ask that you provide us with as much notice as possible, as well as objectives for your visit. Our volunteers will put together a program that is as educational as it is fun. Please contact the 1st Lieutenant via our Contact page to arrange a visit.

How can I get an ambulance to standby at my event? Does it cost anything?
Please contact the 1st Lieutenant via our Contact page as early as possible. We can not guarantee an ambulance for your event, but will work to provide you with one. There are a variety of factors that might prevent us from standing-by at your event including, but not limited to, mechanical problems with our ambulances, higher priority emergencies (our first priority is to respond to 911 dispatched medical emergencies), and crew shortages. If we foresee that we will not be able to provide your event with coverage we will notify you as early as possible.

If, at any time, medical attention is required at your event, dial 911 without delay.

CVCVAC will not charge your organization for providing an ambulance. However, we will happily accept a donation.

How do I get a copy of my medical records?
Please email your request via our Contact page.

Can I get a link from your site to mine?
We will handle these requests on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us via our Contact page for more information.

If you can volunteer, or just to find out more about CVCVAC, call 845-268-7333, or please e-mail us.